Best Pistols for Competitive Shooting

People talk about it all the time. “How do I get into competitive shooting?” or “What are the best pistols to use for competitions?” The truth is, there are plenty of pistols that can be used during these competitions. These competitions are the ultimate forum in which to talk to other shooting enthusiasts, to learn, to show your skills, and to watch some of the most intense sporting events.

One of the best aspects about getting into the sport is that you don’t need a special weapon to do so; you really just need a pistol that fires safely. But if you are looking to purchase a weapon strictly for competitive shooting, you will want to review some criteria before you just buy any Glock or Colt pistol on the market. Some qualities your competition pistol should have are:

  • Rugged and durable construction. This might be the most difficult feature to identify, but it is a key component. You are looking for a weapon that can fire hundreds of thousands of rounds per year without losing any of its functionality. That means that all of the main parts to the pistol should be able to be easily cleaned and able to withstand hours on the range every week. Practice makes perfect, but it also puts a lot of wear on your weapon. Having one that will withstand it is crucial.
  • A semi-automatic pistols. Though revolvers can be an enjoyable way to compete, they typically are not the best way to get used to the basics of a shooting competition. Pistols are easy to use, easy to load, and more natural feeling than a revolver, according to many shooters.
  • Ergonomics. This will be based on your individual needs. Everyone’s hand is different, so finding the one that fits comfortably and naturally into your grip is important. Try out a few to see what feels right for you.
  • Around a 5” barrel. When your barrel is over 6”, your weapon is affected by a diminishing rate of return. Smaller weapons will have less accuracy at longer distances. For most competitions, 4-5.5” barrels are ideal.
  • A 9mm. These are the ideal weapon for beginners, as they feature low recoil and a decent-sized magazine that is often adjustable.

Though there are plenty of firearms that can be used for competitive shooting, there are three that come to my mind when I think of what I would want to be using:


This Glock was made to achieve the best accuracy in target engagement. It is a semi-automatic firearm that uses a 17-round magazine. The frame is 5.32” and is compatible with numerous sights. Not only is it ideal for competitive shooting, but it also doubles as an excellent home defense firearm. It is able to withstand the rigors of the range and still have enough power to keep you safe at home.



Another semi-auto pistol that is made for competitive fields. It was designed by Richard Heinie, a founding father of the United States Practical Shooting Association. This organization is the largest competitive pistol shooting group in the US. The 9mm that they made is a single action with a 5” barrel. It features a thin frame and a one-piece magwell to help achieve an unparalleled balance between accuracy and reliability.


This Colt 9mm doesn’t accept 2nd place when it is used in competition. It packs plenty of features to help you shoot straight and take home the top prize. The 3-hole aluminum trigger paired with the undercut trigger guard give your fingers easy access to a quick draw and pull. Its lightweight frame comes in a 36 oz., but still has plenty of power through its 5” barrel to get the explosive power your shots need to hit targets quickly and accurately.

So whether you are looking for a cheap pistol, a beginner’s pistol, or want to add another weapon to use at your next competition, one of these three are sure to help you jump up a few spots on the leaderboard.

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